I’ve learned a lot about podcasting over the last 3 years as the host of The PRO EDU Photography Podcast. I’ve easily spent over $100,000 producing them. I’ve made well over $100,000 in revenue from them. I’ve had an absolute blast recording each episode. I even once surprised Chris Knight with a live chicken I got off Craigslist in the middle of an episode. It’s opened so many doors and has been an amazing experience. What’s upsetting is how difficult it was to figure out.
Profit Should Always Be Your Focus
When considering to start a free podcast I would recommend to first think about your end game. If your goal is to eventually make money then this article will give you a leg up and save you hours and hours of wasted time by helping you increase your margins.
When I say “profit” I am mostly referring to your time spent making it. Profit isn’t just about revenue but the time it takes you to produce an episode.
The Wrong Decision Can Break The Bank
When deciding to start my podcast I wanted to focus on great conversations in a relaxed setting. It had to be “in-person” as I already felt that the marketplace was crowded. I want to start this article by illustrating where I went wrong, so you can know what to avoid.
In my quest to make a podcast that was strictly “in-person” it came with additional costs. It was an expensive decision but the conversations it created were far better than anything I could have gotten doing these interviews remotely from behind a computer.
Sitting in the same room with someone creates a level of intimacy that you just don’t get from a phone call. In producing the show, I noticed that I made several major rookie mistakes on gear that could have saved me tens of thousands of dollars. I want to share these tips with you so you don’t make the same frustrating mistakes.
Lesson 1 - Great Microphones Don’t Mean Great Quality
I’ve learned about gear the hard way. In the first season of my podcast I used the very popular “Zoom H6 Portable Recorder” as the device to capture the audio. I thought that because the Zoom had 4 XLR channels and independent volume control that it would be a great portable and cheap way to conduct interviews. I was wrong.
Audio Bleed Can Ruin Everything
I thought that the 6 RODE Professional Podcast Mics were the most important thing to invest in, and this was wrong.
The problem was audio bleed. We weren’t far enough away from each other so every mic was bleeding into every channel. It created a sound that needed a lot of work in post-production.
The entire first season of the Podcast sounded terrible and had to be mixed by a professional who had to keyframe every person that wasn’t talking. This was especially a nightmare when everyone was talking at the same time.
The Zoom H6 is an amazing piece of technology but not for this. It couldn’t have been a worse choice and you should avoid it with multiple person interviews.
Lesson 2 - Better Equipment Can Equal More Costs
Once I was sick and tired of paying someone to clean up the errors, I decided to invest in an audio board. I wasn’t sure which one I needed so I simply read reviews and solicited the advice from musician friends. Another bad idea.
A few musicians and audio experts I trust told me to get the Presonus StudioLive and use that. It did produce great sound but it was so costly for me to run that it became a burden and roadblock. It simply required so much time and additional crew.
I am not bashing the Presonus StudioLive. It’s also a great piece of technology for a variety of reasons. But it meant that I now had to bring another person to our interviews because it required a computer and extra software. I even hired someone to come to the studio and teach everyone how to use it. It didn’t matter. It was more expensive to use.
More Gear Equals More Crew
Using the Presonus meant that I couldn’t manage both the board and also engage in conversation while trying to mess with levels. When you start to add things like 3 more power cables, computers to capture the audio, software to manage inputs, outputs, backup audio, it becomes more likely errors will happen.
Great Source Files Still Need Editing
On top of all of this extra work, the audio files that were captured STILL needed to be mixed by someone who knew what the hell they were doing. The files were not ready to be posted. It was kind of like the equivalent of capturing a RAW image in a camera, it needs some post-production love to make it great. In the end it was simply too much production for what we were getting.
The Solution Was Finally Invented
About a year ago I got an email from RODE about a new podcasting board called the RODECaster Pro. I just about had a heart attack. Could all of my problems have been solved with this? Yes, yes they were. It solved every problem I had and it paid for itself immediately.
RODE crushed it with this ultimate piece of technology that required no audio expertise. It was small, gave me great audio right out of the board, and had more features that I was looking for that made life easier.
My Favorite RODECaster PRO Features
- Anyone can use it. This was built for people who don't necessarily have a degree in audio. Right out of the box this can be set up and run by 1 person with a “set it and forget it” approach.
- The files it makes are clean right out of the device with no audio bleed. I don’t know how they did this or why it works how it does. I just know my problems were solved and that meant more profit and less time managing post-production.
Setup is easy as well. I select the name of the Microphone inside the board and whatever wizard algorithm they made ensures that the board is set to capture great audio based on the microphone you are using. That’s amazing.
- It connects to everything. On the back of the board you can plug in your iPhone through AUX or use USB-C for a computer. You can connect any Bluetooth device as well. The options are seamless and just about endless with how easy it is to use.
Programmable Sound Board
At first I was wondering why I needed custom buttons. Then it HIT ME. I could simply record each of these buttons to be commercials, intro music, outro music, sound ups, fart noises, and anything else I could think of. The inappropriate kid in me was so excited. The producer in me was floored.
This meant that I didn’t even have to edit the intro and outro music for commercials in post-production. I could do the entire podcast episode live and have a final product ready to post. That’s profit!
So in the end I cannot recommend this enough. If you are a small one-man crew or larger mobile podcast team, I have yet to find something this user friendly and high quality. And it fits in your backpack.
My Mobile Podcasting Kit Recommendation
Here is the basic gear you should consider when putting together a podcasting kit. This is the gear that I have used for over 120 episodes with zero issues.
- The Board - RODECaster
- Microphones - The RODE Procaster or PodMic.
- Headphones - Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
- 6 Foot XLR Cables + 15 Foot XLR Cables
- Micro SD Card + Case
- SKB iSeries Waterproof RODECaster Pro Podcast Mixer Ultimate Case with WheelRolling Case
- Portable Mic Stand
- RM 2 Stand Mount
The Best Home Studio Podcasting Gear Setup
This is a great at-home studio kit similar to mine above but with less portable mic stands. I do use this mic arm at home but don’t recommend traveling with them as they are harder to use on the road.
Why Do We Recommend Adorama?
Full disclosure. PRO EDU is an affiliate with Adorama and we sometimes use their affiliate links to recommend gear we love which results in a very tiny percentage of whatever people buy from our links. All of this money will go to the writers we work with to give you quality recommendations in more of these reviews. We’ve been using Adorama for years because of their free 2-day shipping with VIP360 and their hassle-free return policy. I also stand by this recommendation. Tell them Gary sent ya.
90 Days Of Content
Over the next 90 days we are going to be working with some top artists to explore recommendations giving you solutions to problems we have all gone through. We are paying the writers a really fair wage for every original article, and we are writing about things that aren’t sponsored by any brand. There is no one but our opinion behind it. We would love it if you do use our affiliate links here so we can continue to keep writing awesome articles that you can trust.